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Updated: 15 hours 48 min ago

A new look for Drupal.org

21 September, 2016 - 19:09

As you can see we've put a fresh coat of paint on Drupal.org - but the changes run below the surface. This latest iteration of the front page brings the key concepts of our design system to the forefront: Clean, Modern, Technical.

This change also brings new editorial tools for Drupal.org content editors. The new home page provides us more flexibility with content and presentation, and so you'll see more frequent updates, more information about DrupalCon, and more editorial flexibility on the home page than you've seen in the past. These tools are also helping us to build cleaner, modern landing pages - like you've just seen with our Fall Membership Campaign.

We've previewed this work with several key members of the community and the board, and we want to say thank you to everyone who's given us their feedback on this first step for our new home page. We also want to give an extra special thank you to dyannenova for her contributions to this effort.

This is just the beginning - very soon we'll have a new visual look for the case studies that are featured on the home page, and then shortly after that we'll begin promoting solutions to Drupal evaluators in specific industries, like Higher Education, Media & Publishing, and Government.

If Drupal.org is the home of the community, then the front page is our front door. We want to welcome new users and evaluators of Drupal, highlight the project's strengths, and promote news and happenings from throughout the ecosystem.

We hope you like the changes, and we think you'll like the upcoming iterations even more. We'd love to hear your feedback!

Categories: Content Management

Drupal 8.1.10 released

21 September, 2016 - 16:33

Drupal 8.1.10, a maintenance release which contains fixes for security vulnerabilities, is now available for download.

See the Drupal 8.1.10 release notes for further information.

Download Drupal 8.1.10

Upgrading your existing Drupal 8 sites is strongly recommended. There are no new features nor non-security-related bug fixes in this release. For more information about the Drupal 8.x release series, consult the Drupal 8 overview.

Security information

We have a security announcement mailing list and a history of all security advisories, as well as an RSS feed with the most recent security advisories. We strongly advise Drupal administrators to sign up for the list.

Drupal 8 includes the built-in Update Manager module, which informs you about important updates to your modules and themes.

Bug reports

This is the final security release for the 8.1.x series. Future maintenance releases will be made available in the 8.2.x series, according to our monthly release cycle.

Change log

Drupal 8.1.10 is a security release only. For more details, see the 8.1.10 release notes. A complete list of all changes in the upcoming 8.2.x branch can be found in the git commit log.

Security vulnerabilities

Drupal 8.1.10 was released in response to the discovery of security vulnerabilities. Details can be found in the official security advisories:

To fix the security problem, please upgrade to Drupal 8.1.10. (Sites testing the 8.2.x release should update to 8.2.0-rc2.)

Update notes

See the 8.1.10 release notes for details on important changes in this release.

This is the final security release of the 8.1.x series. Sites should prepare to update to 8.2.0 following this release.

Known issues

See the 8.1.10 release notes for known issues.

Categories: Content Management

Can Drupal outdo native applications?

14 September, 2016 - 07:00

Republished from buytaert.net

I've made no secret of my interest in the open web, so it won't come as a surprise that I'd love to see more web applications and fewer native applications. Nonetheless, many argue that "the future of the internet isn't the web" and that it's only a matter of time before walled gardens like Facebook and Google — and the native applications which serve as their gatekeepers — overwhelm the web as we know it today: a public, inclusive, and decentralized common good.

I'm not convinced. Native applications seem to be winning because they offer a better user experience. So the question is: can open web applications, like those powered by Drupal, ever match up to the user experience exemplified by native applications? In this blog post, I want to describe inversion of control, a technique now common in web applications and that could benefit Drupal's own user experience.

Native applications versus web applications

Using a native application — for the first time — is usually a high-friction, low-performance experience because you need to download, install, and open the application (Android's streamed apps notwithstanding). Once installed, native applications offer unique access to smartphone capabilities such as hardware APIs (e.g. microphone, GPS, fingerprint sensors, camera), events such as push notifications, and gestures such as swipes and pinch-and-zoom. Unfortunately, most of these don't have corresponding APIs for web applications.

A web application, on the other hand, is a low-friction experience upon opening it for the first time. While native applications can require a large amount of time to download initially, web applications usually don't have to be installed and launched. Nevertheless, web applications do incur the constraint of low performance when there is significant code weight or dozens of assets that have to be downloaded from the server. As such, one of the unique challenges facing web applications today is how to emulate a native user experience without the drawbacks that come with a closed, opaque, and proprietary ecosystem.

Inversion of control

In the spirit of open source, the Drupal Association invited experts from the wider front-end community to speak at DrupalCon New Orleans, including from Ember and Angular. Ed Faulkner, a member of the Ember core team and contributor to the API-first initiative, delivered a fascinating presentation about how Drupal and Ember working in tandem can enrich the user experience.

One of Ember's primary objectives is to demonstrate how web applications can be indistinguishable from native applications. And one of the key ideas of JavaScript frameworks like Ember is inversion of control, in which the client side essentially "takes over" from the server side by driving requirements and initiating actions. In the traditional page delivery model, the server is in charge, and the end user has to wait for the next page to be delivered and rendered through a page refresh. With inversion of control, the client is in charge, which enables fluid transitions from one place in the web application to another, just like native applications.

Before the advent of JavaScript and AJAX, distinct states in web applications could be defined only on the server side as individual pages and requested and transmitted via a round trip to the server, i.e. a full page refresh. Today, the client can retrieve application states asynchronously rather than depending on the server for a completely new page load. This improves perceived performance. I discuss the history of this trend in more detail in this blog post.

Through inversion of control, JavaScript frameworks like Ember provide much more than seamless interactions and perceived performance enhancements; they also offer client-side storage and offline functionality when the client has no access to the server. As a result, inversion of control opens a door to other features requiring the empowerment of the client beyond just client-driven interactions. In fact, because the JavaScript code is run on a client such as a smartphone rather than on the server, it would be well-positioned to access other hardware APIs, like near-field communication, as web APIs become available.

Inversion of control in end user experiences

When a user clicks a teaser image on the homepage of an Ember-enhanced Drupal.com, the page seamlessly transitions into the full content page for that teaser, with the teaser image as a reference point, even though the URL changes.

In response to our recent evaluation of JavaScript frameworks and their compatibility with Drupal, Ed applied the inversion of control principle to Drupal.com using Ember. Ed's goal was to enhance Drupal.com's end user experience with Ember to make it more application-like, while also preserving Drupal's editorial and rendering capabilities as much as possible.

Ed's changes are not in production on Drupal.com, but in his demo, clicking a teaser image causes it to "explode" to become the hero image of the destination page. Pairing Ember with Drupal in this way allows a user to visually and mentally transition from a piece of teaser content to its corresponding page via an animated transition between pages — all without a page refresh. The animation is very impressive and the animated GIF above doesn't do it full justice. While this transition across pages is similar to behavior found in native mobile applications, it's not currently possible out of the box in Drupal without extensive client-side control.

Rather than the progressively decoupled approach, which embeds JavaScript-driven components into a Drupal-rendered page, Ed's implementation inverts control by allowing Ember to render what is emitted by Drupal. Ember maintains control over how URLs are loaded in the browser by controlling URLs under its responsibility; take a look at Ed's DrupalCon presentation to better understand how Drupal and Ember interact in this model.

These impressive interactions are possible using the Ember plugin Liquid Fire. Fewer than 20 lines of code were needed to build the animations in Ed's demo, much like how SDKs for native mobile applications provide easy-to-implement animations out of the box. Of course, Ember isn't the only tool capable of this kind of functionality. The RefreshLess module for Drupal by Wim Leers (Acquia) also uses client-side control to enable navigating across pages with minimal server requests. Unfortunately, RefreshLess can't tap into Liquid Fire or other Ember plugins.

Inversion of control in editorial experiences

In CardStack Editor, an editorial interface with transitions and animations is superimposed onto the content page in a manner similar to outside-in, and the editor benefits from an in-context, in-preview experience that updates in real time.

We can apply this principle of inversion of control not only to the end user experience but also to editorial experiences. The last demos in Ed's presentation depict CardStack Editor, a fully decoupled Ember application that uses inversion of control to overlay an administrative interface to edit Drupal content, much like in-place editing.

CardStack Editor communicates with Drupal's web services in order to retrieve and manipulate content to be edited, and in this example Drupal serves solely as a central content repository. This is why the API-first initiative is so important; it enables developers to use JavaScript frameworks to build application-like experiences on top of and backed by Drupal. And with the help of SDKs like Waterwheel.js (a native JavaScript library for interacting with Drupal's REST API), Drupal can become a preferred choice for JavaScript developers.

Inversion of control as the rule or exception?

Those of you following the outside-in work might have noticed some striking similarities between outside-in and the work Ed has been doing: both use inversion of control. The primary purpose of our outside-in interfaces is to provide for an in-context editing experience in which state changes take effect live before your eyes; hence the need for inversion of control.

Thinking about the future, we have to answer the following question: does Drupal want inversion of control to be the rule or the exception? We don't have to answer that question today or tomorrow, but at some point we should.

If the answer to that question is "the rule", we should consider embracing a JavaScript framework like Ember. The constellation of tools we have in jQuery, Backbone, and the Drupal AJAX framework makes using inversion of control much harder to implement than it could be. With a JavaScript framework like Ember as a standard, implementation could accelerate by becoming considerably easier. That said, there are many other factors to consider, including the costs of developing and hosting two codebases in different languages.

In the longer term, client-side frameworks like Ember will allow us to build web applications which compete with and even exceed native applications with regard to perceived performance, built-in interactions, and a better developer experience. But these frameworks will also enrich interactions between web applications and device hardware, potentially allowing them to react to pinch-and-zoom, issue native push notifications, and even interact with lower-level devices.

In the meantime, I maintain my recommendation of (1) progressive decoupling as a means to begin exploring inversion of control and (2) a continued focus on the API-first initiative to enable application-like experiences to be developed on Drupal.

Conclusion

I'm hopeful Drupal can exemplify how the open web will ultimately succeed over native applications and walled gardens. Through the API-first initiative, Drupal will provide the underpinnings for web and native applications. But is it enough?

Inversion of control is an important principle that we can apply to Drupal to improve how we power our user interactions and build robust experiences for end users and editors that rival native applications. Doing so will enable us to enhance our user experience long into the future in ways that we may not even be able to think of now. I encourage the community to experiment with these ideas around inversion of control and consider how we can apply them to Drupal.

Special thanks to Preston So for contributions to this blog post and to Angie ByronWim LeersKevin O'LearyMatt Grill, and Ted Bowman for their feedback during its writing.

Categories: Content Management

What's new on Drupal.org? - August 2016

13 September, 2016 - 14:44

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

Our latest update about Drupal.org comes as the Drupal Association has moved out of our central office in Portland, OR, and gone to an all-distributed team. A move of that sort always creates some upheaval but amidst the move we've continued to push forward on several initiatives to improve Drupal.org.

At the same time we've been pushing forward towards DrupalCon Dublin at the end of September- and we hope to see you there!

Drupal.org updates A new home page, coming soon

As we recently previewed on the Drupal.org blog, some changes are coming to the home page. We're building some new editorial tools to allow for more flexibility with the home page content, and to enable an increased focus on the adoption journey for visitors to Drupal.org. You'll see styles reminiscent of the Drupal 8 release announcement pages, and a continued modernization of theme.

The launch of the new home page is coming soon, but as a precursor we've been making some small improvements. The new user menu which we launched in July has been updated for better keyboard accessibility, and to show a user picture as an indicator that a user has logged in. We've also moved the search feature into an icon in the top navigation. This gives us more flexibility with the header, which can be customized per-page type or per-section with the overall site search box still being present. For example, the header in the new documentation section features search box specific to this particular section, so while you are there you can search for other documentation without having to go through the full-site search and then filtering down. Lastly, we've merged the 'Get Started' and 'Download & Extend' pages. 90% of the content on these pages was duplicated with each other - and the new page presents a cleaner experience with the essential details needed for getting started with Drupal.

The new front page is beginning editorial review, with the help of DA staff, a marketing task-force from the Drupal Association board, and a few key community members.

We've also just launched our fall membership campaign, and we've used this opportunity to beta test some of these new editorial tools to build the campaign landing page. Your support makes our work possible. Thank you!

Documentation

There's some news to report on the documentation front as well. Firstly, as mentioned above, we've updated the header of the documentation section to default to a documentation-specific search box. While not so important for other areas of the site,, we want to preserve and improve the highly-visible, in context search for Documentation.

We've also made some updates to the new system for Documentation maintainers. Authors of new documentation guides will now automatically become maintainers of those guides and automatically 'follow' the guide content so that they will receive notifications of activity in that guide. Any user following a guide can modify notifications settings at any time from their user profile. Within the notification settings a user can select their prefered method of receiving updates - via email or via their tracker page.

Tvn has continued to spearhed the migration of documentation from the old book pages, to our new documentation system.

We have completed the migration of the majority of the 'general' documentation. While that is done, there is still a lot of work to do to make the documentation content better using the new tools that are now available.

We need community volunteers to take on small sub-sets of documentation to clean them up post-migration and to maintain going forward.

If you don't want to commit to maintaining a guide, you can still help out by doing some of the pending tasks for any of the documentation pages.

Lastly, if any Drupal developers are interested in contributing code to the new documentation system to clean up a few minor bugs and features, please contact tvn. And if you are going to be at DrupalCon Dublin, consider joining us at the sprints!

Quality of Life Improvements

We also took the time in August to make a few quality of life improvements, both for our end users, and for our own team. Firstly, we've made it easier than ever to download a copy of your invoice for DrupalCon. Any user can now log into events.Drupal.org and any time, go to "My Account" -> "Orders" and download a pdf of their invoice for any past event. If your company is sending you to DrupalCon, this makes the process easier than ever. (And if they're not, here are some tools to convince your boss!)

Behind the scenes, we've made some additional improvements to our sophisticated spam prevention system, which focuses on preventing bad actors from even registering on Drupal.org in the first place. For those few bad actors that do get through, the system is also tuned to allow us to prevent those users from making multiple account registrations, as one of the primary methods for targeting Drupal.org in the past has been to make a large number of 'sleeper' account registrations that can be later updated with spam links. Unfortunately, on rare occasions this tool can make it difficult for legitimate users to register an account, so we've updated the system with a whitelisting system that allows legitimate to register, without opening the floodgates to the bad actors.

Infrastructure Virtualization and better Drupal.org dev sites

On the infrastructural side we've been focused on improving the maintainability, stability, and portability of our infrastructure with our smaller engineering team. In particular we've been focusing on virtualizing all the components of our infrastructure.

In August in particular we completed the virtualization of pre-production services. We've optimized the snapshotting and whitelisting process that allows us to create staging and development environments to make that process more efficient and easier to manage. We've also replaced our drupal.org dev site architecture with a new architecture that is no longer vulnerable to docker-fs faults which have multiple times resulted in data loss on our development environments. Drupal.org contributors who've been affected by dev site fragility should find dev sites to be much more robust moving forward.

Community Initiative Updates

Finally, here are some updates on our active community initiatives. Community initiatives are a collaboration; with dedicated community volunteers building improvements to Drupal.org with the architectural guidance and oversight of the Drupal Association engineering team.

Drupal 8 User Guide

The Drupal.org user guide is an effort lead by jhodgdon and a number of other contributors to create a highly produced, tightly editorially controlled guide to using Drupal 8. This user guide has been written to the standard of an industry publication, and uses a custom editorial workflow with git + asciidoc. Jhodgdon has been building out functionality to publish the user guide to a Documentation guide on Drupal.org.

Security

A few interrelated initiatives are in progress to improve how information about project security is displayed on Drupal.org. Mlhess has been working on a new security advisory content type for Drupal.org, which will allow security advisory content to be more easily related to project releases, among other things.

With the input and collaboration of quite a few community members, including the security working group, we've also deployed an update to project pages.

This update adds a shield icon next to stable releases. This shield icon indicates which releases are covered by the security advisory policy. This small change is also part of the groundwork for a project application revamp.

Community initiatives are not work that the Drupal Association can tackle on our own. Our mandate requires us to remain focused. That said, whenever the community has arrived at a strong plan and individual volunteers are ready to contribute code, the engineering team can provide architectural advice, code review, and deployment support.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Categories: Content Management

Drupal 8.2.0-rc1 is available for testing

7 September, 2016 - 22:07

The first release candidate for the upcoming Drupal 8.2.0 release is now available for testing. With Drupal 8, we made major changes in our release process, adopting semantic versioning and scheduled releases. This allows us to make significant improvements to Drupal 8 in a timely fashion while still providing backwards compatibility. Drupal 8.2.0 is the second such update, expected to be released October 5.

Download Drupal-8.2.0-rc1

8.2.x includes many REST improvements; new experimental modules for content moderation, block placement, a sidebar to configure site elements in place, and end date support; and many other features and improvements. You can read a detailed list of improvements in the announcements of beta1, beta2, and beta3.

What does this mean to me? For Drupal 8 site owners

The final bugfix release of 8.1.x has been released. 8.1.x will receive no further releases following 8.2.0, and sites should prepare to update from 8.1.x to 8.2.x in order to continue getting bug and security fixes. Use update.php to update your 8.1.x sites to the 8.2.x series, just as you would to update from (e.g.) 8.1.4 to 8.1.5. You can use this release candidate to test the update. (Always back up your data before updating sites, and do not test updates in production.)

For module and theme authors

Drupal 8.2.x is backwards-compatible with 8.1.x. However, it does include internal API changes and API changes to experimental modules, so some minor updates may be required. Review the change records for 8.2.x, and test modules and themes with the release candidate now.

For translators

Some text changes were made since Drupal 8.1.0. Localize.drupal.org automatically offers these new and modified strings for translation. Strings are frozen with the release candidate, so translators can now update translations.

For core developers

All outstanding issues filed against 8.1.x are automatically migrated to 8.2.x now. Future bug reports should be targeted against the 8.2.x branch. 8.3.x will remain open for new development during the 8.2.x release candidate phase. For more information, see the beta and release candidate phase announcement.

Your bug reports help make Drupal better!

Release candidates are a chance to identify bugs for the upcoming release, so help us by searching the issue queue for any bugs you find, and filing a new issue if your bug has not been reported yet.

Categories: Content Management

Who sponsors Drupal development?

6 September, 2016 - 17:32

Republished from buytaert.net

There exist millions of Open Source projects today, but many of them aren't sustainable. Scaling Open Source projects in a sustainable manner is difficult. A prime example is OpenSSL, which plays a critical role in securing the internet. Despite its importance, the entire OpenSSL development team is relatively small, consisting of 11 people, 10 of whom are volunteers. In 2014, security researchers discovered an important security bug that exposed millions of websites. Like OpenSSL, most Open Source projects fail to scale their resources. Notable exceptions are the Linux kernel, Debian, Apache, Drupal, and WordPress, which have foundations, multiple corporate sponsors and many contributors that help these projects scale.

We (Dries Buytaert is the founder and project lead of Drupal and co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Acquia and Matthew Tift is a Senior Developer at Lullabot and Drupal 8 configuration system co-maintainer) believe that the Drupal community has a shared responsibility to build Drupal and that those who get more from Drupal should consider giving more. We examined commit data to help understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from. We will illustrate that the Drupal community is far ahead in understanding how to sustain and scale the project. We will show that the Drupal project is a healthy project with a diverse community of contributors. Nevertheless, in Drupal's spirit of always striving to do better, we will also highlight areas where our community can and should do better.

Who is working on Drupal?

In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas about giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal themes and modules can award issues credits to people who help resolve issues with code, comments, design, and more.


A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.


Drupal.org's credit system captures all the issue activity on Drupal.org. This is primarily code contributions, but also includes some (but not all) of the work on design, translations, documentation, etc. It is important to note that contributing in the issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. There are other activities—for instance, sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, providing help and mentoring—important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. These activities are not currently captured by the credit system. Additionally, we acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and that credits might get lost when those contributions are moved to Drupal.org. For the purposes of this post, however, we looked only at the issue contributions captured by the credit system on Drupal.org.

What we learned is that in the 12-month period from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 there were 32,711 issue credits—both to Drupal core as well as all the contributed themes and modules—attributed to 5,196 different individual contributors and 659 different organizations.

Despite the large number of individual contributors, a relatively small number do the majority of the work. Approximately 51% of the contributors involved got just one credit. The top 30 contributors (or top 0.5% contributors) account for over 21% of the total credits, indicating that these individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed modules:

Rank Username Issues 1 dawehner 560 2 DamienMcKenna 448 3 alexpott 409 4 Berdir 383 5 Wim Leers 382 6 jhodgdon 381 7 joelpittet 294 8 heykarthikwithu 293 9 mglaman 292 10 drunken monkey 248 11 Sam152 237 12 borisson_ 207 13 benjy 206 14 edurenye 184 15 catch 180 16 slashrsm 179 17 phenaproxima 177 18 mbovan 174 19 tim.plunkett 168 20 rakesh.gectcr 163 21 martin107 163 22 dsnopek 152 23 mikeryan 150 24 jhedstrom 149 25 xjm 147 26 hussainweb 147 27 stefan.r 146 28 bojanz 145 29 penyaskito 141 30 larowlan 135 How much of the work is sponsored?

As mentioned above, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, 659 organizations contributed code to Drupal.org. Drupal is used by more than one million websites. The vast majority of the organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of Drupal; they use the software as it is and do not feel the need to help drive its development.

Technically, Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project. But nowadays, the data suggests that the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations in Drupal's ecosystem. For example, of the 32,711 commit credits we studied, 69% of the credited work is "sponsored".

We then looked at the distribution of how many of the credits are given to volunteers versus given to individuals doing "sponsored work" (i.e. contributing as part of their paid job):

Looking at the top 100 contributors, for example, 23% of their credits are the result of contributing as volunteers and 56% of their credits are attributed to a corporate sponsor. The remainder, roughly 21% of the credits, are not attributed. Attribution is optional so this means it could either be volunteer-driven, sponsored, or both.

As can be seen on the graph, the ratio of volunteer versus sponsored don't meaningfully change as we look beyond the top 100—the only thing that changes is that more credits that are not attributed. This might be explained by the fact that occasional contributors might not be aware of or understand the credit system, or could not be bothered with setting up organizational profiles for their employer or customers.

As shown in jamadar's screenshot above, a credit can be marked as volunteer and sponsored at the same time. This could be the case when someone does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, but uses his or her spare time to add extra functionality. We can also look at the amount of code credits that are exclusively volunteer credits. Of the 7,874 credits that marked volunteer, 43% of them (3,376 credits) only had the volunteer box checked and 57% of them (4,498) were also partially sponsored. These 3,376 credits are one of our best metrics to measure volunteer-only contributions. This suggests that only 10% of the 32,711 commit credits we examined were contributed exclusively by volunteers. This number is a stark contrast to the 12,888 credits that were "purely sponsored", and that account for 39% of the total credits. In other words, there were roughly four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as there were "purely volunteer" credits.

When we looked at the 5,196 users, rather than credits, we found somewhat different results. A similar percentage of all users had exclusively volunteer credits: 14% (741 users). But the percentage of users with exclusively sponsored credits is only 50% higher: 21% (1077 users). Thus, when we look at the data this way, we find that users who only do sponsored work tend to contribute quite a bit more than users who only do volunteer work.

None of these methodologies are perfect, but they all point to a conclusion that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. We believe there is a healthy ratio between sponsored and volunteer contributions.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Because we established that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored, we know it is important to track and study what organizations contribute to Drupal. Despite 659 different organizations contributing to Drupal, approximately 50% of them got 4 credits or less. The top 30 organizations (roughly top 5%) account for about 29% of the total credits, which suggests that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016:

While not immediately obvious from the graph above, different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem and we propose the following categorization below to discuss our ecosystem.

Category Description Traditional Drupal businesses Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that make money primarily using Drupal. They typically employ less than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Lullabot (shown on graph) or Chapter Three (shown on graph). Digital marketing agencies Larger full-service agencies that have marketing led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They are typically larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Sapient (shown on graph) or AKQA. System integrators Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini or CI&T. Technology and infrastructure companies Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek (shown on graph), BlackMesh, RackSpace, Pantheon or Platform.sh. End-users Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph), Examiner.com (shown on graph) or NBC Universal.


Most of the top 30 sponsors are traditional Drupal companies. Sapient (120 credits) is the only digital marketing agency showing up in the top 30. No system integrator shows up in the top 30. The first system integrator is CI&T, which ranked 31st with 102 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned CI&T is a smaller player with between 1,000 and 5,000 employees. Other system integrators with credits are Capgemini (43 credits), Globant (26 credits), and TATA Consultancy Services (7 credits). We didn't see any code contributions from Accenture, Wipro or IBM Global Services. We expect these will come as most of them are building out Drupal practices. For example, we know that IBM Global Services already has over 100 people doing Drupal work.

When we look beyond the top 30 sponsors, we see that roughly 82% of the code contribution on Drupal.org comes from the traditional Drupal businesses. About 13% of the contributions comes from infrastructure and software companies, though that category is mostly dominated by one company, Acquia. This means that the technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not meaningfully contributing code to Drupal.org today. In an ideal world, the pie chart above would be sliced in equal sized parts.

How can we explain that unbalance? We believe the two biggest reasons are: (1) Drupal's strategic importance and (2) the level of maturity with Drupal and Open Source. Various of the traditional Drupal agencies have been involved with Drupal for 10 years and almost entirely depend on on Drupal. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. These organizations are typically recognized as Drupal experts and sought out by organizations that want to build a Drupal website. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who have the size to work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms, and are just getting started with Drupal and Open Source. They deliver digital marketing solutions and aren't necessarily sought out for their Drupal expertise. As their Drupal practices grow in size and importance, this could change, and when it does, we expect them to contribute more. Right now many of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators have little or no experience with Open Source so it is important that we motivate them to contribute and then teach them how to contribute.

There are two main business reasons for organizations to contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches to win more deals. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

We also should note that many organizations in the Drupal community contribute for reasons that would not seem to be explicitly economically motivated. More than 100 credits were sponsored by colleges or universities, such as the University of Waterloo (45 credits). More than 50 credits came from community groups, such as the Drupal Bangalore Community and the Drupal Ukraine Community. Other nonprofits and government organization that appeared in our data include the Drupal Association (166), National Virtual Library of India (25 credits), Center for Research Libraries (20), and Welsh Government (9 credits).

Infrastructure and software companies

Infrastructure and software companies play a different role in our community. These companies are less reliant on professional services (building Drupal websites) and primarily make money from selling subscription based products.

Acquia, Pantheon and Platform.sh are venture-backed Platform-as-a-Service companies born out of the Drupal community. Rackspace and AWS are public companies hosting thousands of Drupal sites each. Lingotek offers cloud-based translation management software for Drupal.

The graph above suggests that Pantheon and Platform.sh have barely contributed code on Drupal.org during the past year. (Platform.sh only became an independent company 6 months ago after they split off from CommerceGuys.) The chart also does not reflect sponsored code contributions on GitHub (such as drush), Drupal event sponsorship, and the wide variety of value that these companies add to Drupal and other Open Source communities.

Consequently, these data show that the Drupal community needs to do a better job of enticing infrastructure and software companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code on Drupal.org rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology-- not every organization can or will share their code -- we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution.

End users

We saw two end-users in the top 30 corporate sponsors: Pfizer (158 credits) and Examiner.com (132 credits). Other notable end-users that are actively giving back are Workday (52 credits), NBC Universal (40 credits), the University of Waterloo (45 credits) and CARD.com (33 credits). The end users that tend to contribute to Drupal use Drupal for a key part of their business and often have an internal team of Drupal developers.

Given that there are hundreds of thousands of Drupal end-users, we would like to see more end-users in the top 30 sponsors. We recognize that a lot of digital agencies don't want, or are not legally allowed, to attribute their customers. We hope that will change as Open Source continues to get more and more adopted.

Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe encouraging end-users to contribute could be a big opportunity. Being credited on Drupal.org gives them visibility in the Drupal community and recognizes them as a great place for Open Source developers to work.

The uneasy alliance with corporate contributions

As mentioned above, when community-driven Open Source projects grow, there becomes a bigger need for organizations to help drive its development. It almost always creates an uneasy alliance between volunteers and corporations.

This theory played out in the Linux community well before it played out in the Drupal community. The Linux project is 25 years old now has seen a steady increase in the number of corporate contributors for roughly 20 years. While Linux companies like Red Hat and SUSE rank highly on the contribution list, so do non-Linux-centric companies such as Samsung, Intel, Oracle and Google. The major theme in this story is that all of these corporate contributors were using Linux as an integral part of their business.

The 659 organizations that contribute to Drupal (which includes corporations), is roughly three times the number of organizations that sponsor development of the Linux kernel, "one of the largest cooperative software projects ever attempted". In fairness, Linux has a different ecosystem than Drupal. The Linux business ecosystem has various large organizations (Red Hat, Google, Intel, IBM and SUSE) for whom Linux is very strategic. As a result, many of them employ dozens of full-time Linux contributors and invest millions of dollars in Linux each year.

In the Drupal community, Acquia has had people dedicated full-time to Drupal starting nine years ago when it hired Gábor Hojtsy to contribute to Drupal core full-time. Today, Acquia has about 10 developers contributing to Drupal full-time. They work on core, contributed modules, security, user experience, performance, best practices, and more. Their work has benefited untold numbers of people around the world, most of whom are not Acquia customers.

In response to Acquia’s high level of participation in the Drupal project, as well as to the number of Acquia employees that hold leadership positions, some members of the Drupal community have suggested that Acquia wields its influence and power to control the future of Drupal for its own commercial benefit. But neither of us believe that Acquia should contribute less. Instead, we would like to see more companies provide more leadership to Drupal and meaningfully contribute on Drupal.org.

Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors? Rank Username Issues Volunteer Sponsored Not specified Sponsors 1 dawehner 560 84.1% 77.7% 9.5% Drupal Association (182), Chapter Three (179), Tag1 Consulting (160), Cando (6), Acquia (4), Comm-press (1) 2 DamienMcKenna 448 6.9% 76.3% 19.4% Mediacurrent (342) 3 alexpott 409 0.2% 97.8% 2.2% Chapter Three (400) 4 Berdir 383 0.0% 95.3% 4.7% MD Systems (365), Acquia (9) 5 Wim Leers 382 31.7% 98.2% 1.8% Acquia (375) 6 jhodgdon 381 5.2% 3.4% 91.3% Drupal Association (13), Poplar ProductivityWare (13) 7 joelpittet 294 23.8% 1.4% 76.2% Drupal Association (4) 8 heykarthikwithu 293 99.3% 100.0% 0.0% Valuebound (293), Drupal Bangalore Community (3) 9 mglaman 292 9.6% 96.9% 0.7% Commerce Guys (257), Bluehorn Digital (14), Gaggle.net, Inc. (12), LivePerson, Inc (11), Bluespark (5), DPCI (3), Thinkbean, LLC (3), Digital Bridge Solutions (2), Matsmart (1) 10 drunken monkey 248 75.4% 55.6% 2.0% Acquia (72), StudentFirst (44), epiqo (12), Vizala (9), Sunlime IT Services GmbH (1) 11 Sam152 237 75.9% 89.5% 10.1% PreviousNext (210), Code Drop (2) 12 borisson_ 207 62.8% 36.2% 15.9% Acquia (67), Intracto digital agency (8) 13 benjy 206 0.0% 98.1% 1.9% PreviousNext (168), Code Drop (34) 14 edurenye 184 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% MD Systems (184) 15 catch 180 3.3% 44.4% 54.4% Third and Grove (44), Tag1 Consulting (36), Drupal Association (4) 16 slashrsm 179 12.8% 96.6% 2.8% Examiner.com (89), MD Systems (84), Acquia (18), Studio Matris (1) 17 phenaproxima 177 0.0% 94.4% 5.6% Acquia (167) 18 mbovan 174 7.5% 100.0% 0.0% MD Systems (118), ACTO Team (43), Google Summer of Code (13) 19 tim.plunkett 168 14.3% 89.9% 10.1% Acquia (151) 20 rakesh.gectcr 163 100.0% 100.0% 0.0% Valuebound (138), National Virtual Library of India (NVLI) (25) 21 martin107 163 4.9% 0.0% 95.1% 22 dsnopek 152 0.7% 0.0% 99.3% 23 mikeryan 150 0.0% 89.3% 10.7% Acquia (112), Virtuoso Performance (22), Drupalize.Me (4), North Studio (4) 24 jhedstrom 149 0.0% 83.2% 16.8% Phase2 (124), Workday, Inc. (36), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (4) 25 xjm 147 0.0% 81.0% 19.0% Acquia (119) 26 hussainweb 147 2.0% 98.6% 1.4% Axelerant (145) 27 stefan.r 146 0.7% 0.7% 98.6% Drupal Association (1) 28 bojanz 145 2.1% 83.4% 15.2% Commerce Guys (121), Bluespark (2) 29 penyaskito 141 6.4% 95.0% 3.5% Lingotek (129), Cocomore AG (5) 30 larowlan 135 34.1% 63.0% 16.3% PreviousNext (85), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (14), amaysim Australia Ltd. (1), University of Adelaide (1)


We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 45 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire not to see Drupal controlled by a single organization. The top 30 contributors and the 45 organizations are from many different parts in the world and work with customers large or small. We could still benefit from more diversity, though. The top 30 lacks digital marketing agencies, large system integrators and end-users -- all of whom could contribute meaningfully to making Drupal for them and others.

Evolving the credit system

The credit system gives us quantifiable data about where our community's contributions come from, but that data is not perfect. Here are a few suggested improvements:

  1. We need to find ways to recognize non-code contributions as well as code contributions outside of Drupal.org (i.e. on GitHub). Lots of people and organizations spend hundreds of hours putting together local events, writing documentation, translating Drupal, mentoring new contributors, and more—and none of that gets captured by the credit system.
  2. We'd benefit by finding a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might have gotten a credit for 30 minutes of work. We could, for example, consider the issue credit data in conjunction with Git commit data regarding insertions, deletions, and files changed.
  3. We could try to leverage the credit system to encourage more companies, especially those that do not contribute today, to participate in large-scale initiatives. Dries presented some ideas two years ago in his DrupalCon Amsterdam keynote and Matthew has suggested other ideas, but we are open to more suggestions on how we might bring more contributors into the fold using the credit system.
  4. We could segment out organization profiles between end users and different kinds of service providers. Doing so would make it easier to see who the top contributors are in each segment and perhaps foster more healthy competition among peers. In turn, the community could learn about the peculiar motivations within each segment.

Like Drupal the software, the credit system on Drupal.org is a tool that can evolve, but that ultimately will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements. In highlighting the organizations that sponsor work on Drupal.org, we hope to provoke responses that help evolve the credit system into something that incentivizes business to sponsor more work and that allows more people the opportunity to participate in our community, learn from others, teach newcomers, and make positive contributions. We view Drupal as a productive force for change and we wish to use the credit system to highlight (at least some of) the work of our diverse community of volunteers, companies, nonprofits, governments, schools, universities, individuals, and other groups.

Conclusion

Our data shows that Drupal is a vibrant and diverse community, with thousands of contributors, that is constantly evolving and improving the software. While here we have examined issue credits mostly through the lens of sponsorship, in future analyses we plan to consider the same issue credits in conjunction with other publicly-disclosed Drupal user data, such as gender identification, geography, seasonal participation, mentorship, and event attendance.

Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most of the contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

As a community, we need to understand that a healthy Open Source ecosystem is a diverse ecosystem that includes more than traditional Drupal agencies. The traditional Drupal agencies and Acquia contribute the most but we don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal—we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal, and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us figure out how we can continue to strengthen our ecosystem.

We hope to repeat this work in 1 or 2 years' time so we can track our evolution. Special thanks to Tim Lehnen (Drupal Association) for providing us the credit system data and supporting us during our research.

Categories: Content Management

Documentation overhaul

30 August, 2016 - 16:11

One of the biggest content areas on Drupal.org—and one of the most important assets of any open source project—is documentation. Community-written Drupal documentation consists of about 10,000 pages. Preparations for the complete overhaul of the documentation tools were in the works for quite some time, and in the recent weeks we finally started to roll out the changes on the live site.

Background

Improving documentation on Drupal.org has been a part of a larger effort to restructure content on the site based on content strategy we developed.

The new section comes after a few we launched earlier in the year. It also uses our new visual system, which will slowly expand into other areas.

Goals and process

The overall goal for the new Documentation section is to increase the quality of the community documentation.

On a more tactical level, we want to:

  • Introduce the concept of "maintainers" for distinct parts of documentation
  • Flatten deep documentation hierarchy
  • Split documentation per major Drupal version
  • Notify people about edits or new documentation
  • Make comments more useful

To achieve those goals, we went through the following process:

First, we wrote a bunch of user stories based on our user research and the story map exercise we went through with the Documentation Working Group members. Those stories cover all kinds of things different types of users do while using documentation tools.

We then wireframed our ideas for how the new documentation system should look and work. We ran a number of remote and in person usability testing sessions on those wireframes.

Our next step was to incorporate the feedback, update our wireframes, and create actual designs. And then we tested them again, in person, during DrupalCamp London.
Incorporated feedback again, and started building.

The new system

So, how does the new documentation system work exactly? It is based on two new content types:

  1. Documentation guide: a container content type. It will group documentation pages on a specific topic, and provide an ability to assign 'maintainers' for this group of pages (similar to maintainers for contributed projects). Additionally, users will be able to follow the guide and receive notifications about new pages added or existing pages edited.
  2. Documentation page: a content type for the actual documentation content. These live inside of documentation guides.


Example of a new documentation guide

All of the documentation is split per major Drupal version, which means every documentation guide or page lives inside of one of a few top level 'buckets', e.g. Drupal 7 documentation, Drupal 8 documentation.
It is also possible to connect guides and pages to each other via a 'Related content' field, which should make it easier to discover relevant information. One of our next to-do’s is to provide an easy way to connect documentation guides to projects, enabling 'official' project documentation functionality.

More information on various design decisions we made for the new documentation system, and the reasons behind them, can be found in our DrupalCon New Orleans session (slides).

Current status

Right now, we have the new content types and related tools ready on Drupal.org.
We are currently migrating existing documentation (all 10,000 pages!) into the new system. The first step is generic documentation (e.g. 'Structure Guide'), with contributed projects documentation to follow later.

While working on the migration, we are recruiting maintainers for the new guides. If you are interested in helping out, sign up in the issue. Please only sign up if you actually have some time to work on documentation in the near future.

There is a lot of work to be done post-migration (both by guide maintainers and regular readers/editors). The content is being migrated as-is, and it needs to be adapted for the new system. This means almost every single page needs to be edited. New fields (such as Summary) filled out with meaningful text (to replace text automatically generated by the migration script). A lot of pages include information for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, but this content needs to be split, with Drupal 8 information moved to pages in the appropriate version of the guide. These are just some of the steps that need to happen once the documentation has been migrated into the new system.

Next steps

As staff, we have a few follow-up tasks for minor improvements to the content types and tools. However, the bulk of the work is editing and improving the actual documentation, as I described above. This is in your hands now. Not only do we not have enough staff members to edit every single documentation page in a reasonable amount of time, we are also not subject matter experts for many of the topics, and so can't provide meaningful edits. The tools are ready, now it is up to the community to pick them up and write great documentation.


Example of a documentation page

Thank you

Lastly we want to say thanks.

Thanks to all the community volunteers who wrote those 10,000 pages over the years. Thanks to the Documentation Working Group members for their expertise, insight, and patience.

And, of course, thanks to staff. Unfortunately due to recent changes for the Engineering team, this will be the last section we'll have resources to work on for a while. This was a fun and important project to work on, and we are glad that we got to finish it. It is a beautiful legacy of the work we did together with some of our former colleagues: DyanneNova, japerry, and joshuami. Thank you!

Categories: Content Management

Upcoming Changes to the Front Page

24 August, 2016 - 18:22

In recent weeks we've been making several small changes to Drupal.org: precursors to bigger things to come. First, we moved the user activity links to a user menu in the header. Next, we're moving the search function from the header to the top navigation. These changes aren't just to recover precious pixels so you can better enjoy those extra long issue summaries—these are the first step towards a new front page on Drupal.org.

As the Drupal 8 life-cycle has moved from development, to release, to adoption, we have adapted Drupal.org to support the needs of the project in the moment. And today, the need of the moment is to support the adoption journey.

As we make these changes you'll see echoes of the visual style we used when promoting the release of Drupal 8.

  • The Drupal wordmark region will help to define Drupal, and promote trying a demo.

  • A ribbon will promote contextual CTAs like learning more about Drupal 8.

  • The news feed will be tweaked.

  • DrupalCon will have a permanent home on the front page.

  • Community stats and featured case studies will be carried over(but may evolve).

  • The home page sponsorship format may change.

  • We'll be phasing in a new font throughout the site: Ubuntu - which you've already seen featured in the new Documentation section.

Here's a teaser

… a sneak preview of some new page elements and styles you'll see in the new home page.  

Our first deployment will introduce the new layout and styles. Additional changes will follow as we introduce content to support our turn towards the adoption journey. Drupal evaluators beginning their adoption journey want to know who uses Drupal, and what business needs Drupal can solve. We will begin promoting specific success stories: solutions built in Drupal to meet a concrete need.

What's next?

We're continuing to refine our content model and editorial workflow for the new front page. You'll see updates in the Drupal.org change notifications as we get closer to deployment.

Wondering why we're making these changes now? This turn towards the adoption journey is part of our changing priorities for the next 12 months.

Categories: Content Management

Drupal 8.2, now with more outside-in

23 August, 2016 - 19:14

Over the weekend, Drupal 8.2 beta was released. One of the reasons why I'm so excited about this release is that it ships with "more outside-in". In an "outside-in experience", you can click anything on the page, edit its configuration in place without having to navigate to the administration back end, and watch it take effect immediately. This kind of on-the-fly editorial experience could be a game changer for Drupal's usability.

When I last discussed turning Drupal outside-in, we were still in the conceptual stages, with mockups illustrating the concepts. Since then, those designs have gone through multiple rounds of feedback from Drupal's usability team and a round of user testing led by Cheppers. This study identified some issues and provided some insights which were incorporated into subsequent designs.

Two policy changes we introduced in Drupal 8—semantic versioning and experimental modules—have fundamentally changed Drupal's innovation model starting with Drupal 8. I should write a longer blog post about this, but the net result of those two changes is ongoing improvements with an easy upgrade path. In this case, it enabled us to add outside-in experiences to Drupal 8.2 instead of having to wait for Drupal 9. The authoring experience improvements we made in Drupal 8 are well-received, but that doesn't mean we are done. It's exciting that we can move much faster on making Drupal easier to use.

In-place block configuration

As you can see from the image below, Drupal 8.2 adds the ability to trigger "Edit" mode, which currently highlights all blocks on the page. Clicking on one — in this case, the block with the site's name — pops out a new tray or sidebar. A content creator can change the site name directly from the tray, without having to navigate through Drupal's administrative interface to theme settings as they would have to in Drupal 7 and Drupal 8.1.

Making adjustments to menus

In the second image, the pattern is applied to a menu block. You can make adjustments to the menu right from the new tray instead of having to navigate to the back end. Here the content creator changes the order of the menu links (moving "About us" after "Contact") and toggles the "Team" menu item from hidden to visible.

In-context block placement

In Drupal 8.1 and prior, placing a new block on the page required navigating away from your front end into the administrative back end and noting the available regions. Once you discover where to go to add a block, which can in itself be a challenge, you'll have to learn about the different regions, and some trial and error might be required to place a block exactly where you want it to go.

Starting in Drupal 8.2, content creators can now just click "Place block" without navigating to a different page and knowing about available regions ahead of time. Clicking "Place block" will highlight the different possible locations for a block to be placed in.

Next steps

These improvements are currently tagged "experimental". This means that anyone who downloads Drupal 8.2 can test these changes and provide feedback. It also means that we aren't quite satisfied with these changes yet and that you should expect to see this functionality improve between now and 8.2.0's release, and even after the Drupal 8.2.0 release.

As you probably noticed, things still look pretty raw in places; as an example, the forms in the tray are exposing too many visual details. There is more work to do to bring this functionality to the level of the designs. We're focused on improving that, as well as the underlying architecture and accessibility. Once we feel good about how it all works and looks, we'll remove the experimental label.

We deliberately postponed most of the design work to focus on introducing the fundamental concepts and patterns. That was an important first step. We wanted to enable Drupal developers to start experimenting with the outside-in pattern in Drupal 8.2. As part of that, we'll have to determine how this new pattern will apply broadly to Drupal core and the many contributed modules that would leverage it. Our hope is that once the outside-in work is stable and no longer experimental, it will trickle down to every Drupal module. At that point we can all work together, in parallel, on making Drupal much easier to use.

Users have proven time and again in usability studies to be extremely "preview-driven", so the ability to make quick configuration changes right from their front end, without becoming an expert in Drupal's information architecture, could be revolutionary for Drupal.

If you'd like to help get these features to stable release faster, please join us in the outside-in roadmap issue.

Thank you

I'd also like to thank everyone who contributed to these features and reviewed them, including Bojhanyoroypwolaninandrewmacphersongtamaspetycompzsofimajor,SKAUGHTnod_effulgentsiaWim Leerscatchalexpott, and xjm.

And finally, a special thank you to Acquia's outside-in team for driving most of the design and implementation: tkolearywebchicktedbowGábor Hojtsytim.plunkett, and drpal.

Acquia's outside-in team celebrating that the outside-in patch was committed to Drupal 8.2 beta. Go team!

Categories: Content Management

Drupal goes to Rio

16 August, 2016 - 07:00

As the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro enters its second and final week, it's worth noting that the last time I blogged about Drupal and the Olympics was way back in 2008 when I called attention to the fact that Nike was running its sponsorship site on Drupal 6 and using Drupal's multilingual capabilities to deliver their message in 13 languages.

While watching some track and field events on television, I also spent a lot of time on my laptop with the NBC Olympics website. It is a site that has run on Drupal for several years, and this year I noticed they took it up a notch and did a redesign to enhance the overall visitor experience.

Last week NBC issued a news release that it has streamed over one billion minutes of sports via their site so far. That's a massive number!

I take pride in knowing that an event as far-reaching as the Olympics is being delivered digitally to a massive audience by Drupal. In fact, some of the biggest sporting leagues around the globe run their websites off of Drupal, including NASCAR, the NBA, NFL, MLS, and NCAA. Massive events like the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and the Olympics run on Drupal, making it the chosen platform for global athletic organizations.

Categories: Content Management

What’s new on Drupal.org? - July 2016

12 August, 2016 - 15:49

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

The Drupal Association engineering team has been continuing to refine our focus for the next 12 months. In July, we worked through the details of setting new priorities for our work, after the organizational changes earlier this summer.

As part of this prioritization process, we've set up a technical advisory committee: a collaboration between a few members of the staff, a representative from the board, and two members from the community. This committee will help us refine the roadmap for Drupal.org for the short term—while the Association is focused on fiscal health and sustainability—and will provide strategic vision for the long term, as our fiscal stability improves.

As a result of these changes, you'll begin to see our updates in this blog series evolve. Expect a greater focus on:

  • The adoption journey for users evaluating Drupal.
  • Systematic improvements to make maintenance of critical Drupal.org services less labor intensive and more affordable.
  • Community initiatives, where we're working together with community contributors who want to help us improve Drupal.org.

So without further ado, let's talk about what we did in July.

Drupal.org updates User Menu

We've moved the user activity links (Login/Register, My Dashboard, My Account, etc.) to a user menu in the top navigation. This change is live on www.Drupal.org and all of the sub-sites that use the Bluecheese theme. The immediate effects of this change are a better look and feel and more vertical space for content on every page. But these weren’t the primary motivation. The larger reason for making this change is that it’s the first incremental step towards upcoming editorial changes on Drupal.org.

More incremental changes will follow in August, including accessibility improvements to this new user menu and a new search icon to replace the embedded search box in the header.

Better Packaging Behavior

One of the basic features of Drupal.org's project hosting is packaging the code committed to our git repositories and providing tar.gz and zip files of releases. The packaging process, while generally reliable, has had its share of infrequent but persistent quirks and race conditions. In July, we fixed several aspects of packaging to eliminate race conditions and reduce the need for human intervention if it runs off the rails. The changes we made were:

Taken together, these changes have made packaging faster, more efficient, and less prone to race conditions that require staff time to fix.

Supporting Drupal 8.2

Drupal 8.2 is coming soon, scheduled for release on October 5th. The beta period for this point release began on August 3rd, and so towards the end of July we spent some time supporting the Core developers who were trying to get their features ready for inclusion in the beta period. In particular, we updated PhantomJS to version 2.1.1 in our DrupalCI containers, to allow Core developers to test javascript interactions for file uploads—part of the new quick edit features targetted for this point release.

Deprecated unstable releases

In July, we also deprecated the use of the “unstable” release tag for projects hosted on Drupal.org. Per our naming conventions, the unstable tag was intended to represent a release without a stable codebase, api, or database schema. However, this definition is largely redundant with the alpha tag and/or simply using dev releases. Beyond that, “unstable” is not a standard tag in semver, and is thus not supported by tools that rely on the semver standard, such as Composer. Existing releases tagged “unsable” on Drupal.org weren’t affected by this change, but no future releases with this tag will be packaged.

Drupal.org Composer repositories beta period continues

We’re still observing how the community uses the Drupal.org Composer repositories, and collecting feedback and issues as we move towards designating the service stable. We encourage you to begin transitioning your Composer-based workflows to use Drupal.org's Composer façade. Package names are stable, and downtimes will be planned and announced. For more information on how to use Drupal.org's Composer repositories, read our documentation.

Sustaining support and maintenance Outage follow-ups

A raid array failure in our data center resulted in a brief outage in July. Fortunately, we were able to mitigate the issue and restore service until the affected array could be replaced. The rebuilt array increased our redundancy to avoid future outages when we experience multiple disk failures.

Backups

We also updated our backup process, and are now using a combination of Borg and rsync.net. The combination of borg for data deduplication and encryption and rsync.net's resilient cloud platform gives us an efficient and economical solution for backup and selective restoration.

Community initiative updates

These are initiatives to improve Drupal.org, driven by members of the community in collaboration with Drupal Association staff for architecture, review and deployment.

Documentation migration

Migration into the new documentation content types that began in June continues. The first sections of documentation being migrated are the Drupal.org docs and the Understanding Drupal guide. More volunteers to help migrate documentation are welcome!

if you are interested in helping, or sign up as a maintainer for some of the new documentation guides.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Categories: Content Management